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Most Fishing Boats Stuck in Docks Until Sand Clogged Santa Barbara Harbor Opens

Published On: Mar 11 2014 07:42:11 PM CDT   Updated On: Mar 11 2014 11:41:24 PM CDT

Coast Guard cutter Blackfin is also waiting for an opening to go out on patrol


Many Santa Barbara fishermen are stuck at the docks these days because of a big sand bar blocking the harbor entrance.  It was left over from the massive March 1 storm.

“This thing should have been dredged a long time ago and we wouldn't be in this position, I don't think,” said Morgan Castagnola.  

He is normally out getting halibut. The season ends this weekend and he will be unable to get his last catch or make any money for the rest of the week.  

He also says boats that can get out at high tide, might get stuck on the other end of the blockade.    

“You got to be coming in and out to market your fish, you can't just go out there and stay and not come in to market your fish, especially when you do live fish,” said Castagnola.

At the fuel dock, Scott Street said his business has gone down significantly. "I probably had seven boats today, it's 12 o'clock,  weather was nice.  I usually would  have 30 by now with the weather so nice but nobody can move," said Street.  He says the smaller boats can get in and out, but they also use much less fuel.

Nearby the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Blackfin is also sitting in its dock, unable to clear the sand bar which has a low tide gap of about two feet and a high tide level of about five feet. The 87-foot Coastal Patrol Boat has been vital in ocean rescues and drug enforcement off the California coast.

Lobster fisherman Chris Voss slipped in with a smaller boat and closed out his season with a good report card, unlike the fishermen in the bigger boat. 

"The lobster fisheries are a really good industry  and the catch history for the state  is steady," said Voss.

For Castagnola, March has been a "financial disaster pretty much  at least for a few weeks - can't get in or out.  Markets eat it, you eat it,  hurts everybody."



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